What film festivals should I submit to?
The festivals landscape is not the same as it was five or ten years ago. There are thousands of festivals you can find on the Filmfreeway. Their number reaches 10.000 almost. Majority of the festivals demands entry fee. Thus a festival circuit can be not cheap for a filmmaker. So an important question arises. Is it worth to spend money and energy on participation in film festivals? What film festivals should I submit to?
The festivals are very different
There are FIAPF and Academy-Award Qualified film festivals. Some of them are free like Zinebi and festivals that charge the submission fee.
I guess that any filmmaker wishes some acknowledgment of his work. There are prestigious film festivals that able to lift a career of talented artists. As anybody realizes the importance of the acceptance by the most prestigious film festivals, as obviously, that summit ascent is extremely hard. The Short Movie Club made the survey regarded selection rate to the Academy Award film festivals. And even a calculator was designed.
According to our estimates, approximately 5-10k of films are submitted for every prestigious festival every year. And about 50-100 films are selected only. In fact, very often such festivals preserve films for programs before the opening of calls for entries.
Regrettably, crowds of filmmakers and tons of films find themselves out of the celebrity borders every year. And many of them deserve to be honored. But… it’s timing.
And it is no secret that frequently small festivals reject films which were selected by the biggest festivals. Do these small festivals have more nice taste in art? Hard to state it generally. But we should remember that avant-garde had not been belonging to the big institutions. Suffice it to recall the Salon de Refuses. It rejected many works that became part of the world history of painting. Money likes foreseeability and art does not. So we should not throw off the film festivals that are not big industrial platforms. But which are organized by real cinema lovers and enthusiasts.
Give to Business what is Business’s, and give to Art what is Art’s
Cinema can be art and business simultaneously. It is business because the cinematography is based on the production industry, marketing, education, venues and location policies, and so on and so on. In other words, there is a long way from filming to the audience. But cinema is art primarily, a necessary part of human beings. Cinema is a way of storytelling, communicating. It is the ability to feel something more than everyday life.
In order to keep a balance between art and business, we should follow the main principle Give to Business what is Business’s, and give to Art what is Art’s.
Top tier festivals can play the role of gates to career success. Yes, it is important to stair-step. But please note that it is one of the hundreds and thousands of steps only.
There are many festivals that are positioning their prestigiousness. But not all of them can be proud of the true indie spirit and with the real love to cinematography. In fact, some of them have a red carpet, evening dresses, a banner you can make incredible foto. But there is nothing else. Nor audience, nor workshops, nor cinema theatre, nor networking, etc. much less film market. All this I read on the numerous filmmakers’ social media groups and forums. To Give to Business what is Business’s keep in mind the list of FIAPF and Academy-Award Qualified film festivals.
From another hand, not qualified festivals play an important role in getting feedback and communication. Participation in the film festival can leave the long and pleasant trace in your life. You can notice that new friends like your posts on FB and you have fresh ideas about the next film after the festival. New impressions are important to have a rest and for inspiration.
Also, what is better to meet real cinema lovers, inspired persons, and other artists. I don’t mean “Blah-blah-blah…” from The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino. I mean this known feeling of loneliness, misunderstanding, sometimes desperation in the world of money and post-irony.